The BEST of Seattle – The Emerald City

If Seattle isn’t on your bucket list of  ‘U.S. cities to explore’ add it now! Coined the Emerald City for the vast greenery that meets the Pacific Ocean. Today however, I am not going to talk about nature, it’s all about downtown – the urban jungle and why this place makes it to my top 10.

Quick Guide to Downtown

  • Parking
  • Pike Place
  • Waterfront
  • Space Needle
  • Monorail

Parking wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated, found a great spot at the mall, Westlake Center (underground public parking). The cost of pricing was typical for a big city- $20/day. The mall itself had several levels of retail space, including typical anchor stores like JC Penny, Macy’s and Nordstrom.

Pacific northwest - 92

Iconic Pike Place

Five minutes from Westlake Center is one of Seattle’s top attractions, Pike Place Public Market. This bustling farmers’ market is filled with handmade goodies, gallery worthy artwork, fresh seafood, fruit, beautiful flowers, pet toys, and quirky trinkets galore! Make sure you stick around to watch a tourist complete the perfect catch from the playful fish vendors. Visiting from out of state? They can ship anything. It is also home to the original Starbucks.

Tourists beware* Plan on spending HOURS browsing the hundreds of goods and chatting with the talented artists and craftsmen eager to chat. I didn’t keep track, but I am pretty sure it took me over two hours and I know I missed a handful of booths.

The Waterfront

The walk to the waterfront takes about 15-20 minutes. There’s a ton of steps or at least it felt that way… and unfortunately they’ll still be there on your way back! Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

There are however handful of ‘stops’ you can make on your way down to keep you entertained. The ‘gum wall’ is there ready for some epic selfies, local breweries, and multiple galleries, you can pop-into to break up the walk.

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Waterfront park is sandwiched between the Seattle Aquarium and Pier 57. The aquarium has a package deal that includes a cruise, but they also have an ‘a la carte’ price list, see below or follow the link for all their attractions and fees.

Aquarium only

Adult (ages 13 & over) $24.95
Youth (ages 4-12)* $16.95
Child (ages 3 & under) Free

I have always loved ferris wheels and I couldn’t pass up the ‘Great Wheel’ on the Seattle waterfront. The views are spectacular. The attendant gave about 3 go -arounds worth; it was nice to sit, relax, and soak up the city from 152 ft.

The Seattle Space Needle

It’s a given, you cannot visit Seattle and not see the Seattle Space Needle. Built in 1962 for the Seattle World’s Fair, the 600 ft+ landmark offers a 360 degree view of this captivating city. Bustling with people young and old, it is easy to see the fascination. Home to the Children’s Museum, Chihuly Gardens and Glass, Science Museum, Museum of Pop Culture, you must set aside multiple days to see it all.

I’ve gone ahead and added links to each of the museums for your reference.


Exhausted yet? I sure was. I recommend the monorail, conveniently built just steps from the Space Needle. What’s the cherry on the top? The monorail drops off at Westlake center, on the top floor of the mall right where I started!

Do you have any ‘must see’ attractions or restaurants in Seattle we should add to our list? If so, please do share your recommendations with us in the comments section below.

Until next time!

Published by Crystal Diane

Landscape embroidery artist + Landscape Architect

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